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Penn State Fraternity And 18 Members Charged In Student's Death

Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller at podium next to a photo of Timothy Piazza and with his parents in person
Emily Reddy

Penn State’s Beta Theta Pi and 18 members of the fraternity are being charged in the February death of a fellow fraternity member. The Centre County District Attorney announced the charges and held the first of the arraignments Friday after a months-long Grand Jury investigation.

Centre County DA Stacy Parks Miller described the night fraternity pledge Timothy Piazza fell down a flight of stairs as a gauntlet of drinking events.

“They made the pledges, soon to be brothers," Parks Miller said, "run from station to station and drink enormous amounts of alcohol in different phases.”

Parks Miller says fraternity members ignored injuries and didn’t call for help until 12 hours later. Piazza died the following day.

Many details in the grand jury report came from surveillance video from inside the fraternity.

Ten Beta Theta Pi members have been arraigned so far on charges including involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault. Most were released on bonds of $100,000. They are all also barred from drinking or taking non-prescribed drugs, and were told to surrender their passports and remain in either Pennsylvania or their home state. 

Penn State has already made some changes to fraternities since Piazza’s death. At a press conference, Penn State president Eric Barron called the details in the grand jury finding heart wrenching and incomprehensible. 

Emily Reddy is the news director at WPSU-FM, the NPR-affiliate public radio station for central and northern Pennsylvania.
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